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Old 07-03-11, 06:02 PM   #1
RandomExeter
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Hybrid vs. Comfort

Here's a question for the rest of everyone, that I'm trying to figure out.

I like going on 30 mile+ rides on my bike; I've been wanting to do longer trips, though. Unfortunately, I've been using a mountain bike that I've had since around mid '95, and in all honesty I don't think I can take much more than 30 miles on it at a time. Since routes I want to go on are not exactly road-bike friendly, and the roads that I tend to travel along are not exactly road-bike friendly, I'm going to see about buying a hybrid bike. The problem, though... is the myriad of hybrids and how they're designated. There are "performance" hybrids, "path" hybrids, "trail" hybrids, "comfort" hybrids... etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, I had thought I had narrowed down my picks to either a Fuji Sunfire 1.0 or a Trek 7500. But as it turns out both companies also have lines of hybrid bikes which fall under the "comfort" line, the Fuji Sagres and the Trek Navigator. I kind of like the idea of the fatter wheels on the comfort hybrids for the occasional patches of softer earth or non-compacted gravel that I know I'd run into now and then, but I'd wager that it'd make the longer trips harder on me, both by slowing me down and forcing me to put more work into it to go the same distance as the not-quite-so-comfort hybrids.

That said, is there an appreciable difference between the 700c hybrids and the 26" comforts?
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Old 07-04-11, 11:02 AM   #2
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Well, I'm surprised you've received no replies! Before I recently bought my Trek 7100 WSD, I had the same questions, although I'm an older newbie only interested in very casual riding and you are an experienced rider who already does 30-mile rides. I'll pass on what I was told, FWIW:

Almost everyone advised me to get a bike with 700c wheels because they said they would roll better and be faster and also easier up hills. There were very few 26" fans. However, I did state that I would be riding mostly on pavement. Some reviews I've read also say the Navigators are heavier than the 7xxx's, but I don't know if that's correct or not. I've been told the 7100, which has 700x35 tires, is fine for light off road use such as smooth unpaved bike paths, grass, etc., and for rolling over where the driveway is a little bump-up and such, just not for rougher terrain. From what I've read, "wider" tires are needed for softer ground, gravel, etc. However, many posters seem to be of the opinion that 35's are "wider"--I guess everything is relative. I'm very inexperienced and not at all knowledgeable except for what I've read and the advice I've received here and on another forum.

I'm guessing if you get more replies, they will recommend something other than the Navigator, which from what I've read is more of a "cruiser" type bike more suited for trips around town rather than 30-mile+ rides. (But I don't know this, or much else, from actual experience.) I don't know which of the hybrids are better suited to soft earth, etc. than the 7xxx's are, but others here will. And I don't really understand what makes the Navigator 2 a "cruiser," other than the 26" wheels and large saddle. The stated angles are a little different, but all in all it doesn't look that different to my untrained eye. I'm not that much help, I know.

Since I bought the 7100, I've had brief thoughts that maybe I (granny that I am) should have gotten a Navigator, mainly because I'm still not confident on the 7100. It seems I'm too high off the ground, but I need more practice. You would not have that problem. However, after reading about all the models yet again, I'm confident I made the right choice in getting the 7100. I think it is better suited for climbing the hills in my neighborhood, and if I ever get strong enough to ride the shorter beginner rides with the ladies' biking group, it will be better suited for that too. I just need to get used to riding again and build up some confidence.

Bump, at least.

Some of you knowledgeable folks please help! Where are you??? Well, probably at the holiday picnic!

Last edited by goagain; 07-04-11 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 07-04-11, 12:08 PM   #3
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Ever try to buy a 700c tire on a small town Sunday?
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Old 07-04-11, 12:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RandomExeter View Post
I kind of like the idea of the fatter wheels on the comfort hybrids for the occasional patches of softer earth or non-compacted gravel that I know I'd run into now and then, but I'd wager that it'd make the longer trips harder on me, both by slowing me down and forcing me to put more work into it to go the same distance as the not-quite-so-comfort hybrids.
This can easily be solved by simply fitting wider tires on the bike. If you are serious about getting the miles in you will outgrow a comfort hybrid's abilities fairly quickly, so why not just avoid it from the start?
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Old 07-04-11, 12:53 PM   #5
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Are you doing longer, fast and exercise runs on asphalt I can only suggest performance bike. It┤ll be more fun and enhance your training. But, hybrids means a lot of things.
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Old 07-04-11, 02:00 PM   #6
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We had the same question a year ago. I researched and researched some more. If I start something I usally go all of the way. I thought I wanted some for a lesiurely ride and to lose weight. The more I read I started to believe that the geometery of the Navigator line would be bad for my wife and I. We went with the Trek Hybird 7000 series. A 7300 for me [a 2009 bike on close out] and a 7100 for her. The bike shop agreed with my decision. Our rides average 12 miles a day.
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Old 07-04-11, 09:26 PM   #7
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I do 18 mile rides easily on my Navigator, and in comfort. I prefer it for unpaved paths and gravel, because of the suspension, and because the wider tires are more stable. But I think you'd be expending alot of energy uneccessarily on this kind of bike if you're looking to do over 30 miles, even though it sounds like you're in really good shape if you're doing it on a mountain bike. I wasn't able to do 30 miles until I got 700c wheels. I do think you're on the right track considering bikes like the Trek 7500. Cannondale Quick 3 and 4 are similar to the Trek, and very nimble.
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Old 07-05-11, 05:44 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by RandomExeter View Post
Since routes I want to go on are not exactly road-bike friendly, and the roads that I tend to travel along are not exactly road-bike friendly,
My first thought here was Salsa's Fargo and Vaya models. The Vaya is a drop-bar bike billed as a bike you can take on anything you might term a "road". The Fargo is built as a drop-bar mountain bike. It will handle just about anything, period. I ride a Fargo, and it works really well for mixed rides when I take pavement to a gravel road, and then from there go exploring old double-track.
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Old 07-06-11, 10:02 AM   #9
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700 ok in Europe, my solution is how fat is the seat, if I have to spend 30 miles on it I want it to have loads of jelly and I'd make sure I stood up every so often
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Old 07-06-11, 10:04 AM   #10
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I've also come to the conclusion you need to think about the handle bars a fair bit, I went through a phase of using straight ones and found I was constantly trying to balance kneck, hands and bottom. Once I moved onto handle bars that look like a bird's wing (like the old dutch sit up and beg bike) I found everything came good. It looks old fashioned but I can ride and ride.
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Old 07-06-11, 08:49 PM   #11
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You're riding a lot farther than my wife and I do. We just got the 7300's (WSD for her) and are going 10 to 12 miles every other day or so. I just thought that I'd mention that you might want to narrow your choice down somewhat by deciding if you need a front suspension or not. I tried a straight fork and the 50mm front suspensions of a couple of hybrids. It wasn't possible for me to contemplate not having a front suspension after I tried them out. People say they add weight - but for me it's well worth it. I really didn't like having to stand up and feather my elbows and wrists everytime I hit rough spots. Love the bikes - things sure have changed in the last 40 years since I had my last bike. Good luck!
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Old 07-06-11, 09:34 PM   #12
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modified hybrid

used to be a pee-wee Herman 21spd with gripshift, so I converted to a 14spd that will take a pounding, is low maint. and tops out like a road bike also.39/53 double up front and 11/30 in the rear
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Old 07-09-11, 10:24 PM   #13
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I started out with a department store hybrid/comfort bike with wider tires and never did much more than 15 miles at a time. I upgraded to a Trek 7300 with 35cm width and found that I could push it further and further until I was doing 60 plus mile rides. It is a good climber but it is a bit heavy, (around 30 lbs.) I chose this bike because of the comfort and the ability to take it off road if I wanted to explore a little. I do not have any problems in soft earth or gravel with the stock wheels. It is an excellent performer and can motor on rather well once you get it up to speed. However, it does not accelerate quickly and I have found that wind is a problem because of the upright seating position. It has an 11-32 cassette and triple chaining on the front so the gear ratios are available to overcome the weight for climbing or stiff head winds. I have found that over time I preferred more and more road riding and eventually went to a skinnier tire for easier rolling and coasting. It is this experience that lead me to believe the wider tires on the Navigator will impede your goals of longer and longer rides as they will be heavier and force you to expend more energy to push the bike for longer rides. Long story short, I have now moved up to the full road bike world and only ride my hybrid on occasion. It is still a great bike but I found that it was not conducive to my goal of doing century rides as I seemed to hit a wall around 60 or so miles. I'm guessing because of greater weight. I do know that my road bike is much lighter and it does make a difference. Good Luck in your selection. I do know you could do worse than the Trek. Mine is a great bike for the money.
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Old 07-10-11, 12:41 PM   #14
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My hybrid started off life as a 26" comfort bike, a Schwinn Sierra GS. It was great at first, but I quickly determined that I wanted to ride further. Changes to the bike such as adding a rigid chromoly fork, different stem, flat bars, rigid seat post, narrower seat, semi-slick tires, etc. have made the bike less of a comfort bike. My original seating position was bolt upright, but now it is much less upright. While it doesn't replace my road bike for long distance rides, it does great for commuting to work over 100 miles per week during the school year.

It would've been cheaper for me to have bought a hybrid in the first place, but I do like my bike as it is currently set up. I can ride it anywhere, its tires do great on rough roads, and it gets me to work almost as fast as if I ride my road bike to work (27 miles round trip).

Since you probably don't want to be replacing parts like I did, I would suggest going for a 700c hybrid in the first place.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:13 PM   #15
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My wife and I have matching Trek 7100s (700x35 tires) and Trek Navigator 2.0s (26x1.95 tires). We like them both but they ride very different. We got the Navigators to ride the unpaved trails first, than got the 7100s because we thought the 700 tires would roll easer, farther and faster, and they do. They both have similar components and about the same price. That being said if I could only keep one of them I would keep my Navigator. It rides smoother and can go places the 7100 cant go, (soft trails). Its a little heavier but not bad. Both my wife and I can ride the Navigators 35 to 45 miles on unpaved trails with no problems. In fact she would like to ride farther most days. We are both 48 years old if that matters.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:29 PM   #16
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I Don't like the 7XXX series because their are very heavy, pricey and have a silly fork suspension that just adds more weight where it's not needed.
If you go with trek I would recommend looking at the FX counter part, like 7.2FX, 7.3FX and so on. Cannondale Quick 4 is also a great bike and comes with carbon fiber fork for around $599.
Myself, I went the cheap $380 giant escape 2 and am very happy with it.
Other option for you would be CX bikes, if you enjoy road bikes but the roads are not very road bike friendly, a CX bike very likely will take the beat.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:20 PM   #17
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I'm going to add my 2 cents in again. While I love Trek bikes in general, I agree with his assessment of the 7000 series. They are not much faster than my Navigator. The 7.2 and 7.3 are better, but I really prefer the zippiness and lightness of the Cannondale Quicks. The 4 would give you wider tires better for gravel and dirt. I already had the Navigator for off pavement so I went with the more road bike-like Quick 3. It is so light and nimble in comparison to the bikes with smaller and wider tires. Noticably much easier to climb.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:46 PM   #18
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Not all comfort bikes are alike. My 1998 Cannondale H300 is a comfort bike that features the same frame as some of the same year Cannondale touring bikes. Breezer Greenway comfort bike is a current model comfort bike that looks a lot like my Cannondale. Lightweight frame, 700x28c stock tires, rigid fork.
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Old 07-12-11, 05:34 PM   #19
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My wife and I have Trek Navigators and they have served us very well. It really depends on how you plan on riding. If you are only interested in boasting about the number of miles you rode, go with a 700 hybrid. If you are really interested in getting a great work out without riding 50+ miles everyday, chose the comfort bike. I have my Navigator set up with flat bars with bar ends which provides a better selection on positions.

I have been on a few 50+ mile rides with the Nav at 15 mph and it was an enjoyable ride with as much comfort as possible. My wife has completed a 25+ mile ride with her bone stock Nav and she feels pretty good afterwards.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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